I’m naturally opinionated. I’m the first to have my hand up in a discussion group – even if I don’t know anyone. It bothers me when there’s an ‘I hope someone else will answer’ silence after a question – so I’ll answer. This said, I don’t mind if you think I’m wrong, and I love a good old discussion about pretty much anything. I like to learn, and I like to develop and refine my opinion.
Over the Christmas period, my extended family gathered round the breakfast table for a hearty discussion – on potential House of Lords reform. Not the most Christmassy of topics, or indeed one to engender love and goodwill to all men, as everyone had a very strong view to share on what they thought should happen. Opinions, reasoning and playing devil’s advocate raised tension levels and should not have been joined by anyone with a post-Christmas hangover. At the point I had to leave, no conclusion had been reached, except that of course no one agreed what the future should hold.
With voting day tomorrow, my family of six seems to have two fairly defined viewpoints – now. (The potential anarchist has decided to vote after all.)
Extended family varies the voting field further and we’ve had to agree to hide each other on Facebook, not talk about politics, and love/tolerate each other regardless of political leaning. Luckily we all live far enough apart.
Working where I do over the election has been interesting to say the least. This is the most politically opinionated I have ever been. Yet at work, I am politically impartial. This is a skill I have had to hone over time, due to my natural opinionation (yes it is a word, I’ve made it one). I work with all the parties and therefore I don’t share my political opinion with students. It’s just like my job as a teacher in a school where I didn’t share the fact I’m a Christian, and explored all the different religions with my class regardless.
A popular question has been whether I am even allowed to vote. Fortunately democracy does not work by forfeiting your right to vote if you work for the elected body, and I shall therefore be outside the Polling Station, bleary-eyed, at 7am tomorrow. Not voting when I spend my working week telling others to would be an interesting contradiction.
I love teaching young people about how they can get involved in politics and how what they say and do can make a difference. Demystifying processes and unpacking the evolution of our democracy is just a normal yet fascinating day at work. My aim is for them to choose to engage in politics, at any level they can. I am encouraging them to have an opinion and a voice.
Because regardless of whether you live in a safe seat, wonder if you should vote tactically, or can’t be bothered to get out of your pyjamas*, I’ll bet you have an opinion. (*Good news – it’s apparently acceptable to go and vote in your pyjamas.)
Think of just one thing that’s happened to you in the past year that’s made your blood boil.
What was it? What was your opinion on it?
Is there any party that’s looking to change that?
Or think of one thing that’s made you happy, and really pleased you.
What was it? Where can you vote for more of that change?
Subjects we discuss everyday of our lives are impacted by politics. If you have children or if you work, if you own or rent, if you’ve been to the doctor or had a relative in school in the last 5 years – these have all been impacted by politics. And I imagine on at least one of these things, you have an opinion. Find out about that one issue – it’s not too late. Try ‘Vote for policies‘, where you can focus on the things that really matter to you.
A somewhat incredible 35% of potential voters – almost 16 million people – didn’t vote at the last election. So yes, I shall be haranguing you with the one political opinion I feel I can deliver on social media. VOTE! Get opinionated, and get thyself to the polling booth.
Some of my friends writing on voting and the 2015 General Election